Venom Strikes Back (Gremlin) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Venom Strikes Back
By Gremlin
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #33

Venom Strikes Back

The sinister forces of Venom are again up to mischief, they've kidnapped Matt Trakker's son. Scott. Unless Matt leaves Mask for ever then he'll never see Scott again. With Matt out of the way Venom will be able to eradicate Mask and take over the world. Matt is left with no choice, he must rescue Scott.

You are presented with a 2D view of the lunar surface that flicks to a new screen when you go off the edges, in a similar way to Exolon. On your journey to rescue your son from the clutches of Venom you will encounter the defences of the moonbase.

When play begins you are unarmed, fortunately there are two Masks on the start screen that you can pick up: Penetrator and Backlash. Penetrator allow you to pass through objects unharmed that would normally drain your energy supply considerably. Backlash is a gun that you can use to blast anything that Venom throw at you. Later on, you'll find Jack Rabbit which is a jetpack that's also capable of firing, but it's not as powerful as Backlash.

Only one of the Masks can be active at any one time and they are all charged. Initially they have 99 charges, but they are depleted every time you use them. They must be used with care because some things can only be negotiated with one of the Masks.

As you travel across the landscape you will encounter a mixture of Venom forces. Stationary guns, mines, water, extending bridges, flying craft or ground dwelling creatures will all try and kill you. The guns can drain you slowly of energy until you run out - ending the game. Mines cause you severe damage when you hit them, but like the guns they can be avoided with Penetrator. Jumping or flying over them is another way of bypassing them.

Water may not appear to be a problem, but if you fall in it then you'll sink to the bottom and never be heard of again Extending bridges appear in some locations. They are over water and you have to determine the timing so that you can reach the far side of the bridge. The timing is fairly easy to work out so the bridges should not prove much trouble. Flying and ground-dwelling things will dram your energy if you hit them and so they must be shot or avoided.

A very nice tune plays on the title screen and there's another that you'll hear quite a lot initially - the death tune. There aren't many different sound effects, but the ones that there are are above average. The backgrounds and sprites all have good use of colour. Animation is smooth and flicker-free.

This is the third in the Mask series of games and I found it to be the most enjoyable of the three. The objectives are not very complicated and the scenario is not exactly original, but you do get the "just one more go and I'll get past that screen" feeling. Grab a joystick and blast the forces of Venom. I'm sure that they'll recover and come back in another game.

First Day Target Score

15,000 points.

Second Opinion

The Green Beret/Exolon type format of game has become very popular just recently. This is another very creditable attempt that has plenty of variety in the features. The different weapons are entertaining and the Venom forces provide lots of challenges. Not exactly a mould-breaker but bags of entertainment value.

Green Screen View

No particular difficulties.

Verdict

Graphics 79%
P. Smooth and flicker free animation.
P. Colourful backgrounds and sprites.

Sonics 68%
P. Happy little title tune.
N. Good effects, but not enough of them.

Grab Factor 85%
P. Pick up a joystick and blast away to your hearts content.
N. Initial play gives the impression that there is very little depth to the game

Staying Power 77%
P. Careful use of Masks is needed, and this makes it more challenging.
N. Scott won't be rescued for a long time.

Overall 81%
P. After the last Mask game I had my doubts about the series, but this one has given me back some hope for it.

GBH